By this time in the war, Gerecke had not seen his wife for two years but the Colonel had pushed to get Gerecke to serve at that post. At the time of the request Gerecke’s superior, Colonel Sullivan, had given Gerecke the option to minister to Hitler’s henchmen or go home to his wife. Gerecke asked to think it over.
In reading these things I am reminded of how difficult war must be. The fighting itself is obviously dangerous and difficult. The graves across many continents attest to this. But there is difficulty also in the separation from friends and family. This was what Gerecke now faced as he deliberated over what to do. He called his son, who was also currently serving in the military, and then went and sat on a bench to pray.
Tim Townsend, the author, then says this concerning Gerecke’s decision making process:
“Christ’s forgiveness loomed large in Gerecke’s thoughts as he prayed for
direction on the park bench. He realized that God wanted something
incredible from him. The author of the Gospel of Luke writes that after
Christ told the second criminal that they’d be together in Paradise,
“darkness came over the whole land… while the sun’s light failed” in the
last moments of Christ’s life. Gerecke was staring into that darkness,
desperately searching for light. If, as never before, he could hate the sin
but love the sinner, he thought, now was the time. He walked back into
Sullivan’s office. “I’ll go,” he said” [p. 105]
So Gerecke headed into the ministry of ministering to those who were guilty of the most horrific sins imaginable. But by God’s grace Gerecke went into that prison with the message of Jesus Christ whose blood covers the penalty of every sin. This is good for us to be reminded of. Our sins, even those ones that we consider small or insignificant, separate us from a holy God. So in the eyes of a holy God, a Nazi guilty of ordering and carrying out horrible atrocities is condemned; but so too is the one who is jealous and envious (Gal. 5:19-21 – among other works of the flesh). So Gerecke’s message of Good News to the people in the Nuremberg prison and the Good news for you and me is that Christ’s death was for every one of us and for every one of our sins. Thanks be to God.